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Wood-fired hot tub maintenance tasks to keep your tub beautiful for many years

At its core, a wood-fired hot tub is a simple invention. Its maintenance requires but a few regular tasks, and we give straightforward instructions to guide you through. The tips and instructions given here will be relevant if you own a Gardenvity Premium or Essential wood-fired hot tub.

While you will find all maintenance works described in detail in your user manual and specific questions in our FAQ section, this article is here for you to find the core information in one place.

1. What needs to be done – regular maintenance schedule

  • Water – observing the pH balance and using sanitisers as necessary. Operate the water filter 4-5 daily. 
  • Ash – clean after each use.
  • Liner – clean after each drain.
  • Cartridge water filter – inspect every week (rinse with garden hose if needed); change every 2-3 weeks.
  • Sand/fibre ball filter – wash every 3 months; replace every 2 years*.
  • Sweep the chimney and wash the heater every 15-20 uses.
  • Heater door glass – clean when you see it necessary.
  • Heater door or other metal parts – clean when necessary to remove smoke residue / soot.
  • Drain the water and leave the drain valve open when the tub is not in use, especially in the cold season.
  • Operate the massage jets for 30 seconds after draining the water to push the water out from the system. This step is essential to prevent water from freezing and damaging the components.
  • Thermowood parts – stain once a year to retain the brownish colour. 
  • Faux leather cover – clean monthly with a mild detergent and water solution.
  • UV-C lamp – replace every 5 years*.

* Applies to Gardenvity Premium hot tubs and depends on configuration

Now, let’s put it on a timeline.

❖ Every day when the tub is filled with water you must ensure proper water hygiene. To do that, you must take pH measurements and use chemicals as prescribed by the manufacturer to ensure the right balance and sanitation. Keep the water filter on for 4-5 hours, even if you don’t plan bathing that day. You can take advantage of a timer plug socket. A detailed article on water hygiene is right here.

❖ After each use, we highly recommend cleaning the combustion chamber and emptying the ash drawer before firing the wood in the heater. This ensures better combustion and chimney draught.  

❖ Once a week, take the water filter cartridge out for visual inspection. If it’s not dirty, it’s ok to continue using it. When it’s dirty, give a good spray with a garden hose and if it cleans well, reuse the cartridge. Doing so will allow you to use the same cartridge for a longer period. If the filter cartridge looks dirty even after washing, replace it. 

❖ Everytime you drain the water, do yourself a favour and clean the liner surface when it’s still wet and only a gentle wipe is enough. Use pool cleaning products or a non-abrassive dish detergent for the task. We recommend using a soft cleaning cloth/sponge to save the surface from scratches. After cleaning the tub with detergents, rinse well with a water hose and drain completely. Any cleaners containing chlorine can only be used with Gardenvity Premium hot tubs. Other models can get damaged by chlorine!

If any dirt or water residues get the time to dry out, cleaning will require more effort. Even in such cases, do not use abrasive scrubbing tools or materials. Any cleaning products containing chlorine can only be used with Gardenvity Premium hot tubs. We DO  NOT  recommend using them with other models because of the potential damage to the hot tub liner and other components.

❖ Every 2-3 weeks, as per cartridge water filter manufacturer’s recommendation, you should replace the Type A water filter cartridge. These are widely available to buy online, for example, on Amazon

This requirement is applicable under intensive use conditions. If you treat the water well with sanitisers and you do the visual inspection + rinse the filter cartridge every week (if needed), you can use the same one longer. 

❖ In the Gardenvity Premium models, wash the fibre balls by hand or in a washing machine with no washing detergent at least once every 3 months. Fibre balls for your sand/fibre ball filter can be easily found to buy online (e.g. on Amazon).

❖ Every 15-20 uses is our standard recommendation to clean the chimney and the wood-fired heater. Remember to clean the chimney cap with the mesh at the same time!

Soft resinous wood produces more soot when burned than hardwoods and, therefore, your chimney may need to be cleaned more often. How regularly you need to clean the heater and the chimney will depend on the type of firewood you use.

❖ A yearly Thermowood (cladding and wooden accessories) treatment with transparent wood paint containing some brown pigment is recommended (but not obligatory) if you wish to maintain the original brownish Thermowood appearance. Although Thermowood can be used outdoors without surface treatment, over time, the wooden parts will become greyish – as any natural wood does.

Please note that Thermowood withstands changeable weather conditions and does not require cleaning. Its durability is based on the special treatment process – no nutritive matter for fungi is left in the Thermowood. 

CAUTION: Do not clean the Thermowood surface with any detergents and/or hard brushes as it may damage the material.

❖ Every 2 years, replace the fibre balls in the sand filter in the Premium line models.
❖ The UV lamp in the UV-C water purification module needs replacement every 9,000 hours, that is, after 5 years of using it 5 hours daily, which is a long, long time.

2. Where you can purchase necessary products – our practical recommendations

Gardenvity does not produce any of the products for your wood-fired hot tub maintenance mentioned in this article. We have tried different products and can suggest some trusted brands. These will vary in different markets, so always feel free to use your own judgement or advice from trusted sources.

Water treatment:1. Aquablanc active oxygen system for our Essential line products. 
2. Chlorine water treatment products suitable to use with our Premium line hot tubs.
3. Intex water filter cartridges (type A). 
4. Bestway Polysphere fibre balls for sand/fibre ball filter.
Thermowood treatment:Transparent weatherproof wood stain.
Liner cleaning:1Hot tub cleaner or dish-washing drops.
Chimney cleaning:Toolset for sweeping.
UV-C lamp:1Contact Blue Lagoon.

We hope this guide and practical suggestions will make your life easier. Ensuring the best maintenance of your beloved wood-fired hot tub will mean a long-lasting hot tub and many wonderful hours spent in your garden. 

Happy hot tubbing!